Robert's Cricket Bread: Springy loaves, literally
Robert's bakery has released a limited edition loaf containing hundreds of crickets. Is this just a novelty, or the beginning of a new food trend?
Every baker dreams of making consistently springy loaves, but few would go so far as Robert’s bakery, who have recently released a limited-edition loaf containing hundreds of crickets. In each loaf are 336 unlucky insects that have been dried, ground and combined with grains to form a protein-packed flour substitute.
This loaf has been released as a novelty: the company is baking only 100 loaves, and 10 of these will be raffled off as prizes. But as unusual as it might sound, this new ingredient is perfect for those pursuing a healthy diet.
Robert's head of innovation, Alison Ordonez, said: "As well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, insects are also seriously tasty and shouldn’t be overlooked as a great recipe ingredient. Our Cricket Loaf provides consumers with a good source of protein and an easy way to familiarise themselves with insect-based food."
The crickets are packed with good fatty acids, calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin C, and as a result, this bread is a fat-blitzer. Better still, the results are ‘terrifically tasty’ – this is one of those few occasions where you can indeed have your cake and eat it.
You might think that to eat crickets you have to be (grass) hopping mad, but in truth it's very common. Insects have been eaten by humans since prehistoric times, and even today two billion of us eat insects as part of our diet. It’s uncommon in Western culture, but 'entomophagy' (the term for the consumption of insects) is normal in 80% of the world’s nations.
Are insects the future of food?
Robert’s is one of a few companies introducing us to the nutritious and delicious benefits of insects, and some scientists think that this kind of dietary change could be the future of food.
The scientific community is in agreement that the meat industry is responsible for an enormous proportion of our greenhouse gas emissions. In an interview with The Guardian, Professor Arnold van Huis suggests that insects could answer our need for protein but at a far lower environmental cost than traditional agriculture.
Van Huis’ research shows that farming commonly consumed insects – including crickets– emits ten times less methane than traditional livestock, and emits far less ammonia and nitrous oxide. This is because insects are cold blooded, meaning they can convert plant matter to protein using far less energy than traditional livestock.
With taste, healthiness and environmental friendliness on their side, it seems like insects might become increasingly common in our food, if we can get over what Van Huis calls, ‘the yuk factor’.